For Immediate Release

Grand Rapids Art Museum Presents Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects

Exhibition celebrates the uniqueness and creativity of West Michigan collectors

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, January 17, 2017 — Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) presents its latest exhibition Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects, which will be on view February 5 – April 30, 2017. From fine art to vintage clothing, toys and vinyl records, antique firearms and sneakers, Victorian jewelry, and more, Finders Keepers celebrates the passion and drive that fuel the collecting bug.

Finders Keepers is organized by GRAM’s curatorial team in collaboration with community scouts to locate and select hundreds of diverse objects from both private and institutional collections throughout West Michigan. Celebrating the creativity and uniqueness of West Michiganders, the array of objects on display in Finders Keepers reflects the myriad interests of our community.

Objects and collections on view from local individuals include former Home and Garden Television (HGTV) Collector Inspector host, Harry Rinker; self-described rock hound,” Roger King; and West Michigan local, Ann Kelley. Rinker’s diverse and eccentric collections are represented by selections of wooden jigsaws, mid-century German ceramics, and cat-themed sheet music. King, who has assembled an astounding trove of over 50 years, presents a multitude of geodes, amethysts, quartz crystals, and other rocks and minerals. Collector Kelley provides a variety of embroidered samplers, demonstrating the handicraft and diligence of the 19th century girls who created them.

The roots of today’s museums are traced to Renaissance Europe’s cabinets of curiosities,” which were private collections assembled by aristocrats, merchants, and early scientists,” said Director and CEO, Dana Friis-Hansen. Finders Keepers celebrates this same spirit of wonder within all of us and illuminates how process, point of view, and method of display can help us see the world in a new way.”

Each collection in Finders Keepers gives unique insight into the collector’s identity. Visitors can explore what drives the universal human impulse to collect objects, learn what makes different objects desirable, and view some of the hidden treasures of the Grand Rapids and West Michigan area.

I have always viewed collecting as a creative activity,” commented Chief Curator, Ron Platt. I saw this as an opportunity to curate a visually engaging exhibition that brings together a diverse group of objects and collectors, and a chance to create discussion about the meaning of value, the motivations behind collecting, and how museums are really collections of collections themselves.”

The Museum is partnering with several local institutions in its presentation of Finders Keepers. In collaboration with the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA), visitors will be able to view videotaped interviews with local elders of the African American community. In partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Youth Services, GRAM’s exhibition presents a selection of objects collected by young people. A collection of antique pedal cars will be on view from the Gilmore Car Museum. A selection from the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s collection of over 1,400 carpet sweepers — a gift from the Bissell Company — will be on view illustrating design innovation from the past century.

To extend the in-gallery experience, GRAM has created an interactive space where visitors will have the opportunity to share details about their own collections. The unique stories and personalities behind many of the collections and its collectors are highlighted throughout the exhibition, through informative labels and video interviews.

Complementing the opening of Finders Keepers, GRAM members can enjoy several exclusive events including the Member Preview Party, Member Day, and Member Day Lecture with Ron Platt, GRAM’s Chief Curator.

This exhibition is made possible by Wege Foundation, James and Mary Nelson, Dirk Hoffius, Greg and Meg Willit, Clark Communications, and the GRAM Exhibition Society (sponsorship listing as of release date).

Schedule of Events:

Member Preview Party
February 3, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Free, members only
GRAM members and their guests are invited to the exhibition opening of Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects and Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta.

Member Day
February 4, 2017
10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free, members only
GRAM members can bring along their friends and family for an exclusive peek at Finders Keepers before it opens to the public.

Member Day Lecture with Ron Platt
February 4, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Free, members only
Ron Platt, GRAM’s Chief Curator, discusses the development and curatorial process of GRAM’s two newest exhibitions: Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects and Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta.

How to Think Like a Collector with Harry Rinker
March 30, 2017
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Harry Rinker, former host of HGTV’s Collector Inspector, shares what he has learned from over 50 years of collecting.

About the Grand Rapids Art Museum
Connecting people through art, creativity, and design. Established in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED® Gold certified status. Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, GRAM has grown to include more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture and more than 3,000 works on paper. Embracing the city’s legacy as a leading center of design and manufacturing, GRAM has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft.

For GRAM’s hours and admission fees, visit or call 616 – 831-1000. 

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